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Tampa FL Products Liability Law Blog

Why are there so many dangerous and defective products for sale?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates thousands of products and can only examine a small portion of products before they reach store shelves. The CPSC relies on importers and retailers to inspect products prior to offering them for sale. Unfortunately, retailers in Florida and other states often fail to do this and only take action once consumers have suffered personal injuries caused by dangerous or defective products.

According to a recent report, most safety violations are committed by Discount Dollar Tree. Common violations include products that threaten the safety of children due to the presence of high levels of lead and phthalates, which are chemicals that make plastic flexible. Toys for small children that have small parts that can be detached and threaten a child's safety are also prevalent on the list of dangerous products.

Dangerous or defective drugs: Allergan in trouble over Botox

Florida residents are likely aware that Botox is commonly used for cosmetic treatments, but they may not be aware that it is sometimes also used in unapproved treatments. In 2010, Allergan was criminally charged and found guilty of promoting treatments that had not yet been approved by the FDA and had to pay fines totaling $600 million. The company is once again facing a civil suit related to promoting dangerous or defective drugs in a case that involves Botox. It is claimed that the company actively promoted large doses of Botox to be administered to children suffering cerebral palsy.

When a couple in another state learned about a verdict against Allergan in a lawsuit that followed the death of a child, they realized that the dead child received the same treatment and was treated by the same doctor as their daughter who died a couple of months earlier. Their daughter suffered from cerebral palsy and was treated with Botox injections. She died about three weeks after receiving a series of injections in September of last year.

Flame retardants pose severe personal injury hazards

Many Florida consumers may not be aware of the dangers of flame retardants that are used in electronic enclosures, toys, furniture and mattresses. Consumers are petitioning the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban all flame retardants containing any organohalogens. Despite flame retardants being manufactured under different names, bromine or chloride bonded to carbon is present in all. The aim of the petition is to reduce personal injury caused by unsafe chemical household products.

For many years, every flame retardant that was banned was replaced with another containing the same toxic chemicals. Conditions associated with organohalogens include cancer, hormone disruption, learning deficits and many more. Children have been found to be especially vulnerable because these toxic chemicals transfer into household dust and find their way into the mouths of small children who often play on the ground. Small children also tend to put anything in their mouths, and the organohalogens are ingested with life-long consequences.

Auto defects: Jury finds Chrysler at fault in 4-year-old's death

Owners of Jeep SUVs in Florida may be interested in the outcome of a lawsuit in another state that involved the death of a child in a car accident. A family sued Chrysler after their 4-year-old son died in 2012 when their 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear-ended, causing the fuel tank to rupture and burst into flames. They accused Chrysler of failing to warn Jeep owners that the position of the fuel tanks increased the risk of personal injury or death in rear-end accidents. Auto defects may lead to accidents with catastrophic consequences.

After a trial that lasted almost two weeks, jurors found that Chrysler was 99 percent responsible for the untimely death of the young boy. The remaining 1 percent of liability was apportioned to the driver that struck the rear of the Jeep. The jury awarded a total of $150 million to the family of the deceased boy.

Personal injury hazard: Blue Bell recalls single-serve cups

Florida consumers commonly rely on various suppliers in the food industry to provide for their dietary needs. While most consumable products are safe to eat, errors sometimes occur in the preparation, packing and storage of food that can lead to contamination. Consumers are thereby exposed to dangerous food that may cause serious illnesses or personal injury.

 One of the infection hazards reported in media sources on a regular basis of late concerns listeria monocytogenes. Blue Bell Creameries recently issued a nationwide recall of a whole range of novelty ice cream products. This followed investigations that determined that five patients in a hospital in another state were linked to listeria bacteria. All became ill, and three died. Apparently, all these patients consumed milkshakes containing Blue Bell ice cream prior to the onset of any problems.

Frozen spinach poses personal injury threat to many consumers

Consumers in Florida may be concerned after multiple recalls of dangerous foods over recent months. There are three common food product hazards that may cause personal injury, including food-borne illnesses, contaminated food and mislabeled food products. In many cases, the provider of one ingredient supplies multiple food manufacturers; if that ingredient is contaminated, it will affect the produce of many companies.

Several food companies that produce frozen organic foods have recently recalled a variety of products containing frozen spinach. After Amy's Kitchen recalled almost 74,000 products due to listeria contamination, Twin City Foods, Superior Foods and Rising Moon Organics followed with recall actions. Wegman's Supermarkets also recalled frozen spinach products that were supplied by Twin City Foods under the Wegman's label. All these manufacturers apparently obtained the spinach from the Coastal Green LLC.

Auto defects led to more than 50 million recalls in 2014

Florida vehicle owners may be shocked to learn that more than 50 million vehicles were recalled for safety defects in 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says one vehicle in every five on United States roads posed critical personal injury hazards. All the parts of every vehicle have to comply with  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and auto defects typically bring about recalls.

The defective cars and trucks have led to a multitude of lawsuits by accident victims against vehicle manufacturers and auto dealers after injuries and deaths resulted from auto accidents involving recalled vehicles. The safety recalls during 2014 included a variety of defects, including those that affected the drivers' control over their vehicles. Such defects included faulty steering components, ignition systems, accelerator controls and cracking tires. Other defects posed fire hazards, such as leaking fuel systems and defective wiring systems that could ignite fires in an accident.

Metal pieces in Kraft Mac and Cheese may cause personal injury

Following the multiple recalls of consumables for various reason over recent months, consumers in Florida are likely shopping with care. Personal injury threats have been reported to be present in food products containing undeclared allergens or foreign particles, and other products were contaminated with listeria, salmonella or other bacteria. Kraft Foods recently recalled nearly 250,000 cases filled with 7.25 oz. boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

The recall followed complaints from consumers reporting eight incidents of the presence of metal pieces in the products. Kraft says no injuries have been reported to have been caused by the foreign particles. The recall includes all 7.25 ounce boxes of the original flavor Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that indicates "best when used by" dates between Sept. 18, 2015 and Oct. 11, 2015.

Severe personal injury may result from faulty fire extinguisher

Florida consumers may want to learn about the dangers posed by Kidde disposable fire extinguishers. Millions of these fire extinguishers have been recalled due to the threat of potential personal injury. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says defective valve components may prevent the fire extinguishers from discharging fully.

Questions about the fire extinguishers arose after a fire broke out in an out-of-state resident's kitchen. She tried to extinguish the flames with a Kidde disposable fire extinguisher, but she could not manage to press the plastic lever to release the powder. The local fire department eventually extinguished the fire to prevent it from spreading to other apartments. The faulty fire extinguisher was later inspected by the fire department, at which time it failed again.

Maker of Tylenol pleads guilty to causing personal injury threat

The Department of Justice says its aggressive punishment of pharmaceutical manufacturers who fail to produce quality medicines will continue. This follows a guilty plea by McNeil Consumer Healthcare on a federal criminal charge for continuing to sell potentially dangerous children's medication over the counter, despite its knowledge of contamination. The department is concerned about the manufacturer's disregard for current safe manufacturing practices that may lead to severe personal injury for children in Florida and elsewhere.

The company settled for $25 million after acknowledging its failure to act upon its knowledge that Children's Tylenol and Children's Motrin were contaminated with chromium, nickel and iron particles. The dangerous children's medicine had remained available to consumers for almost a year before a recall was announced. Following a complaint about black specks in Infant's Tylenol from a concerned consumer in 2009, McNeil determined that the metal particles were introduced during production, but no immediate action was taken.

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